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24 September 2008


James Currier

I must point out once again the method of discussion, because it does affect the outcome, in particular the potential for the longevity of a discussion of this nature: The last 10 on the list are written as facts and are invitations to discuss tenents. The ones above read to me as perjorative caricatures, and aren't inviting to me as a point of discussion. This is not a personal attack, it's a comment on your method of discourse. It doesn't feel like an open forum for learning and progressing, but rather a forum created to prove an already arrived at conclusion. Nevertheless, I will add a few thoughts:

Liberals believe disagreement among smart people is OK, thus they disagree with each other often and have a hard time flying in formation. e.g. flag burning is also OK, that's what a liberal state allows. e.g. "2 Liberals, 3 opinions."

Liberals believe that power corrupts. That if you give too much power to individuals, they behave in destructive ways. Bush's 8 years prove that point to liberals. On the back of 9/11 he seized nearly absolute power, invading nations, suspending rule of law, violating various constituional amendments, etc.

Liberals don't believe in empire.

Liberals admire reasoned debate and abhor gutter politicking of the Rove type.

Liberals are distrustful of the military which, while certainly necessary, often ends up justifying it's own growth and "exercise" just as the federal governement does overall.

Liberals believe individuals and small groups are greedy to the point of group destruction. They believe that a small group will take money for itself until an entire company collapses or and entire economy. They tend to believe that if you encourage and allow greed without regulation (either government or societal norms), those in a position to take money will take so much that it will materially hurt others around them. Thus they are suspicious of CEO pay, suspicious of back room dealings between people of means (e.g. CEO is fired for bad performance that lost worker's pensions $billions but the Board gives him a $32 million payout), and liberals are suspicious of Wall Street. The current debacle on Wall Street is a perfect example of what the Liberals fear by their nature, and now they see the truth of that belief boldly proved. The see that between 2002 and 2007, a small group (20,000?) pulled $28 billion out per year in bonuses and sank it into houses in the Hamptons, houses in the Caribbean, ever larger yachts and every more opulent parties. And now the tax payer will pick up the tab.

Conservatives, for their part value winning, dominance, and sticking with their team. Their language in private discussions is often characterized by canine references includes "We shouldn't cut and run with our tail between our legs" "Stare them down," "They behave when we bare our teeth." This fundamental pack outlook leads them to more public language such as "patriotism", "family values", "Country First," etc. Perhaps if one were to measure "pack instinct" as a personality trait in each person, we would see a bell curve, and the conservatives would genearlly populate the higher end of the curve, while the liberals would populat the lower end of the curve. Getting everyone aligned and in step around simple symbols is a strong value of the pack outlook. The flag, the cross, the dollar sign are good examples.

George Rebane

James, thank you for that very thorough comment. I’m sorry that you assess my tenets as less “facts” than that of the liberal law professor whose tenets are fairly broad and give little purchase for debate on specifics. The purpose of this piece was to get past the generalities of Stone’s tenets while presenting them in contrast to something that one can put their finger on and say ‘this is wrong because …’.

But I take heart in that when you go on to your list of liberal tenets, their characterization of specifics is as detailed as mine and in the identical vein, and more so when you include the tenets ascribed to (educated? all?) conservatives. When you further assess the first 29 tenets as “pejorative caricatures”, I don’t know whether to celebrate or not, since you do not take to task any of the details which I have included. Such details invite their correction or sincere debate, not a blanket dismissal. But then, perhaps, you are illustrating the problem with right-left communications.

(more on this at http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2008/09/liberal-tenets.html)

Jonathon Gault

Liberals believe that the government is the answer (not the problem)?

Liberals hold their personal liberties above the liberties of others?

Liberals do not understand that everyone benefits from the profiteers on wall street via their 401k, government sponsored pension plan, their very own paychecks, their health insurance, the technology they use everyday, etc. (profit motive generates necessity; which drives innovation).

Liberals believe that politicians are better philanthropists than the wealth generators.

Liberals believe that dependence on the government is the goal, rather than self-reliance.

Liberals believe that people are too stupid to survive without a nanny government.

Conservative believe that just about anything can be solved by war.

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